Novak Djokovic swept to victory in his first singles match on Australian soil since being deported a year ago, crushing Frenchman Constant Lestienne at the Adelaide International on Tuesday to kick-start his bid for another Grand Slam title.

The Serbian superstar was given a warm welcome when he played a losing doubles clash on Monday and received similar treatment on a packed centre court.

He won comfortably 6-3, 6-2 in 74 minutes, breaking once in the first set and twice in the second.

“For the first match I can’t complain, I played very well,” Djokovic said. “I thought the first probably six games were very competitive.

“I’ve never faced him before today’s match. He’s a counter-puncher. He doesn’t make too many mistakes and he kind of absorbs the pace from his opponent, kind of tricky serve, hits his spots.

“But once I made that break at 3-2 first set I felt like I stepped it up one or two levels and played really good tennis the rest of the match.”

It was his first singles clash in the country after being kicked out before the 2022 Australian Open for not being vaccinated for Covid-19. Djokovic was subsequently barred from re-entering for three years.

The ban was lifted in November, allowing him a chance to win an unprecedented 10th Australian Open crown at Melbourne Park later this month.

Top seed Djokovic served to love to open his account and it went with serve until he pounced in game six, working two break points with Lestienne netting a forehand to go 4-2 behind.

He calmly closed out the set in 38 minutes and took full control in the second, quickly breaking twice to move 3-0 clear before cruising home.

Djokovic will play another Frenchman Quentin Halys next for a place in the quarterfinals of a tournament he won in 2007.

Before his haul of 21 major trophies, the then 19-year-old Serb beat Chris Guccione in the final ahead of his breakthrough triumph over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open a year later.

Former world No 1 Medvedev, seeded two, also progressed but was given a tough workout by Sonego, a champion in Metz last year.

He will next meet Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

Fellow Russian Karen Khachanov also won, but in an upset on the women’s side, Estonian former world No 2 Anett Kontaveit was stunned by Chinese qualifier Zheng Qinwen 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7).